Pre-Columbian drawings discovered in dark caves

alibhai/ October 29, 2017/ New Gadgets/ 0 comments

  • 70 cave systems were found on uninhabited  Mona Island in the Caribbean
  • The strange motifs were found in small dark chambers far from cave entrances
  • They were made between between 1200AD – 1590AD, researchers said
  • Some are painted or drawn, and others, drawn with the fingers in the soft walls
  • Many of these images are human-like images that appear to be transforming
  • These images give a unique insight into spiritual beliefs of a forgotten culture
  • ‘They took cohoba a hallucinogenic drug that you snort and it’s very powerful’, Dr Jago Cooper from the British Museum told MailOnline

Researchers have found thousands of pieces of art nestled in pitch-black caves that were created by indigenous people living on a remote Caribbean island more than 800 years ago.

The strange motifs were found far from cave entrances and researchers say the pre-Columbian artists who created them also took strong hallucinogenic drugs.

Many of these peculiar drawings depict human-like images and appear to be transforming into plants and animals – giving experts a unique insight into the spiritual beliefs of a forgotten culture.

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Researchers have found thousands of pieces of art nestled in a network of pitch-black caves. Experts believe this image could be a sign of fertility and might show someone giving birth. Variations of this image occurred frequently in the cave complexes, researchers said 

Researchers have found thousands of pieces of art nestled in a network of pitch-black caves. Experts believe this image could be a sign of fertility and might show someone giving birth. Variations of this image occurred frequently in the cave complexes, researchers said 

WHAT ARE THESE IMAGES? 

The team uncovered multiple rock art sites inside the caves with iconography consisting of human, animal, and meandering designs.

Some are painted or drawn, and others, drawn with the fingers in the soft walls, are more elaborate and akin to a technique called finger-fluting familiar from Palaeolithic rock art in southern Europe.

Many of these anthropomorphic figures are in the process of transformation – sometimes they’re transforming into animals and sometimes they’re be transforming into plants.

They took cohoba a hallucinogenic drugcalled Cohoba that is made from the ground seeds of the cojóbana tree and produces a psychedelic effect.

Scientific analyses from the team have provided the first dates for rock art in the Caribbean – illustrating that these images are pre-Columbian made by artists exploring and experimenting deep underground, researchers found.

Led by the University of Leicester and the British Museum, a team of researchers found around 70 cave systems on the currently uninhabited and remote Mona Island in the Caribbean.

The paper is the result of three-years of research starting in 2013 that looks at these newly-discovered designs, drawn between 1200AD – 1590AD.

The team uncovered multiple rock art sites inside the caves with iconography consisting of human, animal, and meandering designs.

Some are painted or drawn, and others, drawn with the fingers in the soft walls, are more elaborate and akin to a technique called finger-fluting familiar from Palaeolithic rock art in southern Europe.

‘For the indigenous population that lived in the Caribbean, caves represented a spiritual space and this art represents their belief systems’, lead researcher Dr Jago Cooper from the British Museum told MailOnline.

Many of these anthropomorphic figures are in the process of transformation – sometimes they’re transforming into animals and sometimes they’re be transforming into plants.

‘They took cohoba a hallucinogenic drug that you snort and it’s very powerful’, Dr Cooper said, which might have helped them create these strange designs. 

Cohoba is made from the ground seeds of the cojóbana tree and produces a psychedelic effect.

Many of these peculiar images are human-like images that appear to be transforming into plants and animals giving a unique insight into the spiritual beliefs of a forgotten culture

Many of these peculiar images are human-like images that appear to be transforming into plants and animals giving a unique insight into the spiritual beliefs of a forgotten culture

The strange motifs were found in small dark chambers far from cave entrances. Researchers say this image might show the intersection between the real and spiritual world

The strange motifs were found in small dark chambers far from cave entrances. Researchers say this image might show the intersection between the real and spiritual world

Most of the drawings are down very narrow spaces deep in the caves, some are very hard to access and researchers had to crawl to get to them. 

‘I believe it is likely they went in to the cave for particular rights of passage. Often they are deep under ground where there is not much natural light and would have been led in their by someone with the knowledge’, said Dr Cooper. 

‘The further you go into the cave the more into the spiritual world you go. In the dark a lot of your sense are totally transformed – it’s very eerie and strange.

‘You are completely out of your comfort zone – it’s discombobulating and the same thing would have happened would have happened to the people making this art’, he said. 

These images were created by indigenous people living on a remote Caribbean island more than 800 years ago. Researchers say they hope to decipher more of the meanings over the next five years 

These images were created by indigenous people living on a remote Caribbean island more than 800 years ago. Researchers say they hope to decipher more of the meanings over the next five years 

The team uncovered multiple rock art sites inside the caves with iconography consisting of human, animal, and meandering designs

The team uncovered multiple rock art sites inside the caves with iconography consisting of human, animal, and meandering designs

Led by the University of Leicester and the British Museum, a team of researchers found around 70 cave systems on the currently uninhabited and remote Mona Island in the Caribbean

Led by the University of Leicester and the British Museum, a team of researchers found around 70 cave systems on the currently uninhabited and remote Mona Island in the Caribbean

Most of the drawings are down very narrow spaces deep in the caves, some are very hard to access and researchers had to crawl to get to them

Most of the drawings are down very narrow spaces deep in the caves, some are very hard to access and researchers had to crawl to get to them

'The further you go into the cave the more into the spiritual world you go. In the dark a lot of your sense are totally transformed - it's very eerie and strange', Dr Cooper told MailOnline

‘The further you go into the cave the more into the spiritual world you go. In the dark a lot of your sense are totally transformed – it’s very eerie and strange’, Dr Cooper told MailOnline

Scientific analyses from the team have provided the first dates for this rock art  – illustrating that these images are pre-Columbian made by artists exploring and experimenting deep underground.

‘The conservation-minded approach we used squeezed every bit of information we could out of the discovery using multiple methods that are relevant to the studies of vulnerable rock art worldwide’, said Dr Alice Samson, co-author of the paper from the University of Leicester School of Archaeology and Ancient History.

The cave represented the boundary between the real and spiritual world. 

‘For the millions of indigenous peoples living in the Caribbean before European arrival, caves represented portals into a spiritual realm, and therefore these new discoveries of the artists at work within them captures, the essence of their belief systems and the building blocks of their cultural identity’, said Dr Cooper. 

The paper is the result of three-years of research starting in 2013 that looks at these peculiar designs, that were drawn between 1200AD - 1590AD

The paper is the result of three-years of research starting in 2013 that looks at these peculiar designs, that were drawn between 1200AD – 1590AD

Many of these anthropomorphic figures are in the process of transformation - sometimes they're transforming into animals and sometimes they're be transforming into plants

Many of these anthropomorphic figures are in the process of transformation – sometimes they’re transforming into animals and sometimes they’re be transforming into plants

Some are painted or drawn, and others, drawn with the fingers in the soft walls, are more elaborate and akin to a technique called finger-fluting familiar from Palaeolithic rock art in southern Europe

Some are painted or drawn, and others, drawn with the fingers in the soft walls, are more elaborate and akin to a technique called finger-fluting familiar from Palaeolithic rock art in southern Europe

They took Cohoba which is made from the ground seeds of the cojóbana tree and produces a psychedelic effect

They took Cohoba which is made from the ground seeds of the cojóbana tree and produces a psychedelic effect

The paper presents the first results of the dating of the art on the island (pictured), as well as insights into the artistic choices made about location, technique, and paint recipes of the time

The paper presents the first results of the dating of the art on the island (pictured), as well as insights into the artistic choices made about location, technique, and paint recipes of the time

The paper presents the first results of the dating of the art, as well as insights into the artistic choices made about location, technique, and paint recipes of the time.

‘By identifying the pigments from outside the caves we’ve shown intentionality – that people went in there they went in to make art’, Dr Cooper said. 

Researchers believe there is still a lot more art to discover.

‘Our research proves the indigenous people were artists who went into the caves to make art and they have a canon of art that had meaning.’

Scientific analyses from the team have provided the first dates for rock art in the Caribbean - illustrating that these images are pre-Columbian made by artists exploring and experimenting deep underground, researchers found

Scientific analyses from the team have provided the first dates for rock art in the Caribbean – illustrating that these images are pre-Columbian made by artists exploring and experimenting deep underground, researchers found

Although the artists took drugs while making their art they did not have 'parties' as such. Researchers said the caves were extremely humid

Although the artists took drugs while making their art they did not have ‘parties’ as such. Researchers said the caves were extremely humid

'These are secret and sacred places like a church and you wouldn't have a party in a church', Dr Cooper said

‘These are secret and sacred places like a church and you wouldn’t have a party in a church’, Dr Cooper said

'Imagine a social networking site, where instead of having a page with posts of people here you have an actual cave wall or roof full of different pictographs', said Victor Serrano a PhD student from University of Leicester's School of Archaeology and Ancient History

‘Imagine a social networking site, where instead of having a page with posts of people here you have an actual cave wall or roof full of different pictographs’, said Victor Serrano a PhD student from University of Leicester’s School of Archaeology and Ancient History

Reseachers believe they went in to the cave for particular rights of passage. Often they are deep under ground where there is not much natural light and would have been led in their by someone with the knowledge

Reseachers believe they went in to the cave for particular rights of passage. Often they are deep under ground where there is not much natural light and would have been led in their by someone with the knowledge

Although the artists took drugs while making their art they did not have ‘parties’ as such.  

‘These are secret and sacred places like a church and you wouldn’t have a party in a church’, Dr Cooper said. 

‘Imagine a social networking site, where instead of having a page with posts of people here you have an actual cave wall or roof full of different pictographs’, said Victor Serrano a PhD student from University of Leicester’s School of Archaeology and Ancient History. 

‘As a Puerto Rican these groups of people that visited and lived in Mona Island are my ancestors, and their story is of utmost importance’, he said.  

Researchers say they hope to understand more about the meaning of this rock art over the next five years.

For the millions of indigenous peoples living in the Caribbean before European arrival, caves represented portals into a spiritual realm, researchers found

For the millions of indigenous peoples living in the Caribbean before European arrival, caves represented portals into a spiritual realm, researchers found

These new discoveries  capture the essence of their belief systems and the building blocks of their cultural identity, researchers said

These new discoveries  capture the essence of their belief systems and the building blocks of their cultural identity, researchers said

Our research proves the indigenous people were artists who went into the caves to make art and they have a canon of art that had meaning, researchers said

Our research proves the indigenous people were artists who went into the caves to make art and they have a canon of art that had meaning, researchers said

 






Courtesy: Daily Mail Online

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